The USB is Dead. Long Live the USB

Step aside, USB: there’s a new cable in town and it’s set to revolutionize your devices.

The USB-C is the product of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, a conglomerate of six major technology giants that includes Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Intel.

The mission of the USB-C is simple: a universal port that will replace the data, power, video and (eventually) audio jacks on your device. One connector will accommodate hard drives, projectors, flash drives, charging, headphones and pretty much anything else you can plug in. With the use of a splitter, you can also do all of this at once. The port is small enough to fit a tablet, but offers enough strength for laptops and PCs.

The benefits of the USB-C are endless, from improved design to reduced efficiency. A simple (but fantastic) feature is that it’s identical on both sides, meaning no more fumbling around trying to plug in an upside down USB.

The other great benefit for consumers is the cost. In recent years, tech accessories have not only become increasingly overpriced (a Windows laptop charger comes in at up to USD80), but compatibility issues mean that you’re unlikely to be able to use the same cords across all your gadgets, even if you’re just upgrading within the same platform. The beauty of the USB-C is the promise of a universal cable that can seamlessly move between devices and platforms.

You might be asking: what’s in it for the tech companies who designed the USB-C? On face value, it seems crazy that business rivals would work together to wipe out the huge portion of their revenue that comes from selling accessories.

The lead of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group explains that the primary reason was speed. The old model USB was designed almost 20 years ago and simply can’t keep up with the thinner, faster devices we use today.

The Group does have green on its mind too, but not in the way you’d expect. One of their main concerns was reducing the environmental waste that comes from having so many different power supplies and cords. A single cord means fewer redundant cables and power boxes ending up in landfill every year.

The President of the USB Implementers Forum, Jeff Ravencraft, adds that while the companies may be in a collaboration now, they’ll almost certainly end up competing for their own part of the market.

The good news is that the cable is already on the market, having been built into a range of new devices from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Google. So get excited for this space-saving, waste-saving, dollar-saving marvel, coming to a gadget near you.


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